I have been very disappointed in myself with writing the blog as of late. I am trying to get back into more of pattern that will challenge me to post more often. I am in these two newsgroups and have recently loved the challenges that one of them is bringing to me. There is a woman who is trying to get more interaction on the newsgroup going – she is posting questions about writing and people are responding. So far they have been very interesting: What are you reading? How do you write (pen and paper or computer), roll call and getting to know your characters.
Some of these are ones I have blogged about in the past, like the character development. The one that really provoked me to do a lot of thinking was the one on how do you write. I always thought that I was being ‘less productive’ and not keeping up with the times because I tend to write – pen to paper. It’ll happen in the most unusual times and places as well – and I will write on whatever I can find that will work as paper and welcome the pen that I am using.
I have tried typing my initial story on the computer – but always seem to fail because either I am distracted or just get tired of sitting at the computer and typing. When I look at the short stories I have written – everyone completed one of them was written first from pen to paper. So it got me thinking about why I do this and I wonder if it has to do with the whole editing portion of the computer. I think I try and edit as I write when I am typing, but when it is pen to paper – it just keeps coming out with a speed and focus that I can’t seem to get on the computer. Though I am a much faster at typing on the computer than I am writing by hand.
So now that I have identified this, that offers a new challenge – either get writing more with pen and paper or learn to write without editing on the computer – one would be faster than the other. Both have just as many inconvenient steps as they do convenient ones. The pen and paper route really allows for me to write just about anywhere – that means I have to carry paper with me wherever I go. Pen and paper is slow for me to transfer to the computer – seems to be my first edit. The computer is just faster and it is right there for me to edit after I finish; however, doesn’t seem to be something that I do well at doing (although I do seem to be able to do it in my blogs).
I have made some major changes in my life and they appear to be more routine than I had initially believed they would be. They are affecting many areas of my life and I like it. I have started exercising regularly. I am in a contest with friends to lose weight – we have been doing this for going on 3 years, I think. With little success, so this year I created a much bigger challenge for all of us who wanted to participate which is building a savings account for a trip. Only those who lose 10% of their weight in 10 months are able to go with the monies saved. I have every intention of being one of those people and so I stepped it up. I was not doing well for the first half of the challenge – so I looked at my weight and the things I have done for most of my adult life and what has worked and what has not. I want this to be the last time I am focused on losing weight. The main thing was exercise. So I started with ½ hour a day and it is working. In the first 15 days, I lost something like 7 inches of fat. So I am keeping it up, along with a journal focus of my weight loss and the activities I am trying and doing.
I did not realize how much more energized I would feel. It has helped in keeping me more motivated and active. Now, the bummer is that I have spent less time at the computer actually writing. This is not okay. I am really frustrated by this.
I have to admit that some of my struggles are coming in the form of editing. Even when I get the stuff down and on paper, I review and edit, review and edit to the point that I believe it is ready to start submitting. A few months ago, I submitted a story of mine that I thought was ready to go. A friend is helping with the editor position for stories to be read on a radio station, and I found one that I had writing which could be read online. It had been published in a literary journal and at an online journal. I thought cool – this is the one to go with. When I first read it to my writers group – I was complimented on the voice and the story. There were a few changes that I now realize I had not made before submitting it, but overall the story was enjoyed by my peers. This friend was one of those peers – the story was returned to me and edited as a ‘favor’. I honestly do see it as a favor as it she was trying to be very helpful in what needs to be in place before submitting. I admit to feeling crushed – there were so many marks the original story was hard to find. Now there were some actual errors that I was glad to have pointed out to me, but then there were things that I don’t agree with. Which is alright as well – everyone is entitled to their opinion – yet, I wondered, how did it get accepted at these other places if there were so many errors. I am still a little confused by this. I have not looked at it for awhile because I honestly found it a little depressing.
Now I am trying to edit a couple of my stories for submission – one of which I think has a really good change at this on-line magazine which accepts some horror stories – and even though there is no truly gory details, it is violent. I am now not confident in my editing skills and am worried that I am letting one persons edit affect my own editing. It took me awhile to realize this, so I think I am going to simply do it the way I know how and submit. I am, however, looking for options – 1. Who do you get to edit your pieces before submitting? 2. How do you know when you have edited too much?
I am no sure what is going on. I have not been good about posting to this blog. My writing has suffered – I have been spending some time focusing on editing trying to get some stuff ready for some contests, but other than that I have not been doing well with it. It is definitely time to get things back on track. Today is the new day of a new phase of 24 days. One of my main focuses is 15 minutes a day!
Club Dead by Charlaine Harris
rating: 4 of 5 stars
I just finished reading this book – it’s a good addition to the Sookie Stackhouse series. Nice action – good tension and not so much mushy stuff between her and Bill. It’s interesting to see all this attraction the supernatural beings have towards Sookie.
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So far I am not doing so well on the 15 minutes a day. I am beginning to think that more than one change at a time, sets me up for failure. Initially, I was thinking I could carry over minutes – so if I didn’t get my 15 minutes done yesterday I could owe 30 today. I am now up to 1.25 hours. That is not going to work, if I can’t get the 15 done – why would I add more. It’s Monday and I tend to do better when I start on a good beginning of the week kind of day. So today will be the first day of my 15 minutes of writing per day. I have the time in my schedule today, so there should be no excuses.
…lately have not been so good with this blog. I have been wondering what to write. My focus has been on this experiment I am doing to make changes in my life for exercise and for a healthier lifestyle. So far today is the end of that first 24 days and it was overall pretty successful. Feel free to follow or check out my experiment at my other blog: 24 Days to Habit? Or Once Again – Not Enough?
I am looking to make this chnage in other areas of my life as well. My writing has only been half-assed lately. I have a screenplay that I am playing around in my mind. I have been recording and writing down different parts of it, but not knowing how to really write a screenplay has made it somewhat difficult. However, last night I was playing around with something I could be doing and that is writing it out as I know how to write – since much of it is in dialogue at this point, it should be easy enough to do and then I can go back and fix it in screenplay style.
I think part of me has been struggling with it because it is also a gay-themed story, my writer’s group – as good as they are – I do not believe would be that receptive to critiquing it, but you never know. I am thinking that I also know a few screenwriters who would be willing to review it for me, so we will see.
In the mindframe of my writing every day and how do I incorporate my 24 days to habit thinking? I think I need to start smaller – I have been trying to set aside at least an hour a day to write. I believe that I am going to start with at least 15 minutes a day writing with the intention of adding 15 minutes at each 24 hour cycle. I am not going to post on this daily, like I am on my exercise, but I will try and add it to my weekly post.
Just After Sunset by Stephen King
rating: 4 of 5 stars
I really enjoyed this – I am a big fan of the short story – I have to admit that some were better than others. I love that Stephen King sticks a little tell of the books at the end of the book. I enjoy finding out what he was thinking and why the story was written. The last one was the most haunting for me – the port-a-potty story – not so much for the outdoor toilet, but it was like someone was actually addressing my own fear of the old fashioned outhouse. I also wondered about the cat story, so it was interesting to hear how far the actual story went back.
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I have been very lazy in my writing on the blog here. I actually have been doing some good story outlines and getting some stuff done, but nothing ready to present at this moment. Oddly I have been working on a screenplay, which for some reason seems really to be calling me to complete and work on. It is still a completely different style of writing and has me confused, but I am focusing at this point in getting it down before I miss or forget something and focusing on the format later.
Yesterday was an interesting day for me though and it was really caused me to think of some of my characters. I was at a Wellness Team retreat and the activity was focusing on the strengths that others see in you. We were in small groups and made to identify strengths we see in each other – then from those strengths identify ways that they could be developed in helping the company. My group stepped a bit out of the box and with those strengths was able to identify other careers each person could consider. The strengths which were identified for me were very nice, but the thing that really bothered me about them was that they were missing the key ones which I see in myself, which I believe I present, which I believe are the ones which make me the person I am.
Immediately, I was bothered by this, we had opportunities to state some that we see in ourselves that maybe they missed, but the humble part of me wouldn’t allow me to say them. Now I wonder if it was the humble part or if it was that part that makes me second-guess myself. I don’t like that part, lol. I like to believe that I am a fairly confident person in the workforce and it caught me off-guard. I began to wonder how this works with my characters though and do I show this.
If I can take this and work it into my stories, I believe there will be more interesting characterization. It is going to be an interesting experiment to make it work in some of my stories since so many of them tend to be written in the first person – now I will have to evaluate if I need to occasionally go third person to reveal some of what others think or will it be revealed in their dialogue or interactions. In my writer’s group there has recently been a lot of discussion on characterization and while I am not the type of person who tends to write out 36 points about each character – it does present an interesting perspective to identify the way the character sees himself and the way others perceive the character.
Living Dead in Dallas by Charlaine Harris
rating: 4 of 5 stars
I enjoyed this book as well – the voice is so easy to listen to. I cannot wait for the new season of true blood because I love how the book does so well at staying in first person – yet the show is in so many perspectives. I do have to admit that I had some disappointment in this book with the lack of some of my favorite characters – I almost think it was too early to take Sookie out of Bon Temps – I wanted to know more of the characters there. But all in all, I enjoyed the book.
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Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris
rating: 4 of 5 stars
I really enjoyed this book – having seen half of the first season. I was very pleasantly surprised with how close it is to the book. I love Sookie’s voice and this is one of those books that I believe I will completely finish the series. While the author takes some liberties with the folklore of vampires – she remains much closer than other books on the market right now. There were things that led me to investigate which author published her book first – and I was interested to see that this was several years before another series of books which is so popular right now. Onto the second in the series…
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